Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises make cheerful, affectionate companions who enjoy cuddling and playing games. These small dogs are always white with a soft, dense inner coat and a spirally, coarse outer coat. Bichons enjoy being pampered — they appreciate a frequent bathing or brushing much more than a jaunt around the town. They delight in learning tricks, but can be difficult to house-break.

The Bichon's defining characteristic is his cheerful manner. These dogs' charming, inquisitive expressions are indicative of their gentle dispositions. Bichons are small dogs. They usually measure in between 9.5 and 11.5 inches long and weigh no more than 12 pounds. They should always be alert and enjoy activity. Instead of a long walk they will most enjoy romping through the yard and socializing with their human friends. Their playful streaks occasionally cause them to tire quickly after extreme bursts of excitement or activity. They love to welcome visitors, whether human or animal. Bichons also enjoy barking, so make sure your little friend has plenty of positive outlets for his energy in order to avoid unnecessary disturbances.

You will soon see that your Bichon loves learning new tricks, but his main goal is to please you. Therefore, these sensitive little powderpuffs require a gentle approach in training, especially when they make mistakes. They can be quite difficult to housebreak, so crate training is recommended.

Bichons may be born in apricot or cream hues, but in adulthood, they are always white. The coat is slightly hypoallergenic because it grows continually and does not shed. Their curly double coat should never be wiry to the touch. Instead, the coarsely textured outer coat should feel fluffy and plush. The silky undercoat gives the Bichon's coat its soft feel. The coat should spring back when petted and should never appear limp or flat. The coat should stay long enough to be plush. 

No aspect of home dog grooming requires as much time and regular devotion as brushing. Routine brushing keeps your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free, while keeping his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair and distributing natural oils.

Dogs with curly or wavy coats are very susceptible to mats and tangles and require daily or every-other-day brushing. It's why they are categorized from moderate to high on the coat maintenance scale. The use of a slicker brush is necessary to remove tangles. When encountering stubborn mats or tangles, use liquid detangler or baby oil, gently massaged into the trouble spot. Remember to gently brush your dog without excessive pulling. And don't forget to brush the tail and feet. A light mist of detangling spray after brushing helps remove loose fur and leaves the dog with a great shine.

The Bichon's curled double coat must be groomed frequently to maintain its puffy appearance. Your dog will need to be brushed at least twice a week — preferably once a day — to prevent tangling and matting

What you need

  • Slicker, bristle or steel pin brush
  • 2-in-1 comb
  • Shedding blade (for heavy shedders)
  • Liquid detangler or baby oil

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but breeds with curly and wavy hair should be done more frequently, usually in the six-to-eight week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry.

What you need

  • Slicker, bristle or steel pin brush
  • Dog shampoo
  • Rubber tub mat
  • Towels
  • Bathing tether (if needed)

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with curly or wavy coats generally require routine hair clipping. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of clippers and trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use clippers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Always leave at least a half-inch of fur to protect the dog from the elements. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed.  Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Clip with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

Around the head, Bichons are trimmed and rounded to give the dog the appearance of a cotton ball. The long tail is plumed and moves festively with the Bichon. The hair around the eyes and between the paws should be trimmed regularly to prevent any discomfort. Show dogs are meticulously trimmed with scissors, but pet Bichons will appreciate being clipped with an electric clipper to maintain their puppy cuts.

What you need

  • Slicker, bristle or steel pin brush
  • 2-in-1 comb
  • Shedding blade (some coats)
  • Pet clipper
  • Pet trimmer

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
 
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
 
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

What you need

  • Sharpened nail clipper
  • Styptic powder

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Curly and wavy coated dogs have large, sensitive ears covered in hair that  need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Poodles are prone to developing tear stains around the eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

What you need

  • Pet trimmer
  • Blunt scissors
  • Cotton balls or soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Mineral oil (or olive oil or witch hazel)

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.

What you need

  • Dog toothbrush
  • Dog toothpaste (homemade recipe of baking soda, salt and water is acceptable)